By JESSICA KIM COHEN
Earlier this summer, 110 attendees gathered in Hyde Park Bank, 1525 E. 53rd St., for a spring fashion show highlighting new Hyde Park businesses.
The event, titled “Fashion on 53rd,” featured local boutiques Comfort Me, Independence, Sir & Madam, Silver Umbrella, Stamp’Lays Executive Boutique & Salon and Villa and took place May 30, 6-8 p.m. This is the first fashion show hosted in the Hyde Park Bank building, according to bank President Michael McGarry.
The event was a collaboration between local businesses, the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), the University of Chicago’s (U. of C.) Office of Civic Engagement and MODA, a U. of C. student organization that showcases fashion on and off of the university’s campus.
Inspired by a fall fashion show, Nika Levando, assistant director of neighborhood initiatives for the U. of C.’s Office of Civic Engagement, brought the idea to the U. of C.
“I went to a fashion show back in October, and I literally thought to myself, ‘We could do this.’ We have four boutiques, right next door to each other,” Levando said. “It was a very nice preview into spring and what the neighborhood in Hyde Park has to offer.”
With this in mind, the Office of Civic Engagement hoped to bring attention to new developments in Hyde Park.
“There used to be one or two other boutiques in the area, but now we have a kind of critical mass of apparel for the first time in the Hyde Park area,” said Calmetta Coleman, director of communications for the Office of Civic Engagement.
MODA, which hosts its own annual spring fashion show, led the show’s production, including casting U. of C. students as models. Though MODA organized the show, stores were able to choose what outfits to display.
“The creative direction was completely done by the stores themselves, to showcase and give a platform for them to present what they do,” said Morgane Richer La Fleche, board president of MODA.
Villa, 5230 S. Lake Park Ave., displayed the store’s shoes and athletic wear.
“We just figured that it’d be a great opportunity for people to learn about the store who had never known that we were here before,” said Natasha Tate, store manager at Villa. “We did get a little foot traffic that next following Monday and Tuesday after the fashion show, so it was great on our end. We really appreciated it.”
Other local involvement included catering provided by Chant, 1509 E. 53rd St., and drinks provided by Porkchop, 1516 E. Harper Court.
“It’s a whole new era for Hyde Park,” said Aldo Rojas, general manager of Chant. “There were a lot of new people in Hyde Park who came to the fashion show and who came to the restaurant afterwards. Everyone was talking about the show and talking about how Hyde Park is changing and evolving, and getting to a different level in terms of perception from outsiders.”